Friday, September 27, 2013 5:27:13 PM
Okay. So, my general interest in law means I sometimes come across something that drops my jaw. Above The Law
posted a link to this video -- though their article actually misses my favorite part of the video.
I've cued it up here. (56:40) and you should watch just this last part. This portion of the video actually sums up the whole issue
. Understanding the actual case isn't necessary to understand what is going on here.
For Non-Legal Types, some helpful notes:
- The Whos:
The Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (top row, middle). The Chief Judge actually tells the Attorney from the Prosecutor's Office (video box insert on the bottom) that they should watch this video. It's such a serious dressing down. Basically, the 9th Circuit court (en banc) is saying "You can't cheat the system." (And the system isn't always fair... but you can't just disregard it completely).
There was a trial, guy got convicted of trafficking marijuana, there was an appeal to the 9th Circuit (3 judge panel); the 3-Judge panel upheld the ruling from the original trial. However, one of those three judges issued a strong dissent opinion warning of serious reservations. The full 9th Circuit Court (all of the judges here) decided to review that decision and apparently - based on this video - have some serious reservations.
It's a beautiful thing. Enjoy!
(the last zinger is at 1:02:50 but the action is over at 1:01:00)
The Chief Judge, at 57:20 gives a summary of the problem: the Prosecutor claimed a fact in a closing argument that hadn't actually been established (when the Defense gets no chance of responding that the claim wasn't
actually true or had a good reason) The fact in question: Did he have luggage? --- that might have been okay if he hadn't hammered on it and implied it was a serious indication of the guilt of the defendant.
The only down side of this video? The US District Attorney, Laura E. Duffy
, who is in charge of the Prosecutor's office wasn't there to take her licks - it would have been her or a close subordinate's decision to allow the appeal.
Monday, September 16, 2013 6:53:06 AM
Today, at my cafe there was a man in a dark hoodie, a phone and some headphones and dark skin. I've seen him around but never really spoken to him.
However, today he seemed agitated - antsy - as the closing hour approached. I had ascribed some minor suspicion to him and unfortunately some small part had to do with race. Not a lot of black people hangout in this neighborhood - racism is an ugly thing - but more important to me were the other qualities. 1. He didn't have any electronics (until today I hadn't seen any), no computer or phone - he'd read the newspaper. Having an expensive laptop means *anyone* who is hanging out and not sitting in front of their own expensive laptop is someone to check out. And 2. I couldn't figure out his purpose.
So when he got antsy, I got antsy and ascribed the most evil of motivations - "He's waiting to rob someone!" Not impossible but what really sucks about all of this is in that moment, in seeing him over in the corner getting more and more antsy I never did the most basic of fucking human things.
Ask him what's up.
It wouldn't have taken much, it's the same thing I expect from cops (instead of assuming guilt, getting more information). Instead my imagination ran away with me and what I may have been witnessing was far more simple -- despair, frustration, loneliness, and anguish.
In those moments, don't I know, how welcome is a concern from anyone.... and instead I shunned and eyed cautiously.
It isn't outside the realm of possibility that he was contemplating some unlawful activity but it's far more likely that he was just upset about something and didn't know what to do.
That last thought didn't strike me until he was out of sight and my mind calmed. By then he was gone, to wherever -- someone speculated he was homeless.
I feel guilty.
If it were I in his shoes how would I wish to be treated? Today was a fail. Next time I see him, I'll have to say hello. I can't solve world hunger, I probably can't even solve his hunger but if our lives are made up of thousands of different interactions over thousands of minutes -- the pulse, the heartbeat of our lives -- then every positive heartbeat is uplifting. Every interaction, whether it be a smile on the street or a kind word, has that potential to just help someone out a little, give them a little help, a little push toward the positive choices in their lives (and our own).
That is what we call community -- in the best sense of the word -- it's not merely proximity but presence with each other.
Still don't make his sleep any easier tonight and that is a failure I hate.